On the Couch with Monique Harvey

Monique Harvey ONCWho is Monique Harvey?
I am the artistic director of the Lorne Festival of Performing Arts, creative director of the Hepburn Springs Swiss & Italian Festa and music programmer for The Substation in Newport. I used to gallivant around the globe with The Famous Spiegeltent but now have a much quieter (and healthier) existence in Daylesford in the Central Highlands of Victoria.

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
Not a hell of a lot actually.  It’s taken me over 25 years to find a work/life balance and to focus on the things in life I enjoy most. This relates in particular to what I do for a living.  If you are deeply passionate about your work it shines through.  The Lorne Festival of Performing Arts is a gem to work on and the Festival team are brilliant… not to mention the amazingly talented artists that we have the opportunity to collaborate with every year.  I program artists and events that I absolutely adore and that I think the general public will also respond well to and enjoy as much as I do.

Who inspires you and why?
Anyone who works hard, is passionate about what they do, takes risks, and works with integrity.  The FOPA team and committee are indefatigable and I’m constantly astounded by the local communities passion and enthusiasm for this event.  It is these people who work behind the scenes for little or no accolades who inspire me the most.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
This is a hard one because every other day I think I should be out there doing more to make a difference.  I have worked in the arts for almost 20 years and I guess I have seen thousands of people enjoying the fruits of my labor.  I have supported many charities throughout my entire career both in a professional and personal capacity and feel that we ALWAYS have to give something back.  I suppose seeing the joy that people experience on many of the events that I have worked on is making a difference in its own way.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
There are so many but I guess most beachside locations and in particular Lorne and Byron Bay (and surrounds) would be a couple of my favorites.  The ocean soothes my soul and a bit of sun on your face and sand in your toes is a lovely thing.  All that goes along with the beachside holiday appeals to me… seafood, cold beers, long summer days, warm nights.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
The Radio Springs Hotel in Lyonville which is a little gem of a pub tucked away in central Victoria.  The atmosphere, food and service is divine!  A visit to the local Hepburn Springs Gold course to see the kangaroos grazing… there can be up to 50 of them just cruising around chomping away at the grass at any given time. A walk around Daylesford lake and a coffee at the little Book Barn situated right on the lake.

What are you currently reading?
Sister – Rosamund Lupton

The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson

How I Became A Famous Novelist – Steve Hely

Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking (one day I’ll finish this one!)

What are you currently listening to?
The Rechords

Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen

The Tiger and Me

Little Feat

… and a heap of my Dad’s old vinyl including; Steve Winwood, JJ Cale, Steely Dan and Bob Dylan.

Happiness is?
Creating events that bring joy to people and presenting performances that they may never normally get the chance to see.  Every year in Lorne we present an Opening Night Cabaret and the look on the audiences faces  and to see people doubled over with laughter as each act rolls out their show is absolute GOLD!  This brings me a huge amount of happiness. And on a personal note – any social events with friends and family especially if there is some dancing (and dress ups) involved.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully I can keep working on events that inspire and excite me. I have also recently decided (after an amazing whirlwind trip to the UK) to have more adventures and travels with family and friends.  A wedding in Las Vegas is next on the cards along with side trips to New York and LA… bring it on!

Monique Harvey is the Artistic Director of the Lorne Festival of Performing Arts. The festival runs from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 September 2013. For more information, visit: www.lovelornefestival.com.au for details.

Image: Monique Harvey